Wednesday, January 20, 2016

BEAUTY: Clothing--Fendi

Silvia Venturini Fendi is head of design for the Fendi menswear line. As the granddaughter of Edoardo and Adele Fendi who started the company in 1925, she has complete authority to do as she likes with the brand which is known for luxury, exclusive and expensive bags and purses, and fur. With such familial ties, who can argue? So it's an amusing surprise that for her Fall-Winter '16-'17 collection, Silvia was inspired by what she called a “domestic attitude.” The first model descended a grand circular fur staircase (for real) dressed in what looked like a plaid flannel bathrobe and lounge wear with fuzzy slippers. Of course the pieces are outerwear, but this set the stage for a collection of clothing that is normally only ever worn in the comfort of one's bedroom during a cold winter night. It is a bold, unexpected direction for a global luxury brand, but one whose whimsy feels light and fun. As the collection progressed, pieces got fuzzier and thicker...coats and tote bags ended up looking like huge plush toys carried by the adult models. Even entire suits seemed to be made from stuffed animals.

And this led me to an interesting thought: there is an obvious comfort element at play here, but the addition of the fur made me think of children. I feel a bit of regression here, a bit of wanting to be a ten-year old boy, in warm plaid jammies, clutching a favorite stuffed animal, safe and warm at home. Silvia Fendi even added the quirky motif here and there of a little blob-y cartoon character peeking up out of pockets or on the side of a tote...a sweet little imaginary childhood friend.

And then I saw it: this collection is a subliminal reaction to an unstable world hard at work fighting World War III, a tragic year in Europe with France bookended in tragic terrorist attacks, and general upheaval at a level we as a species have not seen in a very long time. Yes, it is a good thing to put on your robe, curl up with some hot chocolate and a teddy bear, and just be safe. Nothing wrong with that.

Be safe.

Above: Silvia Venturini Fendi taking her bow in front of the fur staircase

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